Monday, June 2, 2014

Using Sensory Impressions to Bring Your Scenes to Life

Using sensory impressions in your creative writing helps draw a reader into your story.  Certain sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and textures produce pictures in readers' mind that are connected to emotions in their pasts.  A writer doesn't have to be flamboyant with the descriptions.  Sometimes subtle depictions do more than over-description.

If you've ever walked through a forest after a heavy rain and kicked up wet leaves, your mind picks up that scent and visual while you're reading the setting right now.  Does the thought of a freshly plowed field in early spring trigger anything in your mind?  It might, if you grew up in an area where farmers planted their crops. What about walking along a pier as the misty breeze off the ocean flows past you?  Moth balls in your grandmother's closet.  Honeysuckle on a late summer afternoon. Freshly picked tomatoes.  Dill pickles.  Grandpa's pipe.  These images remind me of times in my youth and as I grew up.  They might mean something totally different for someone else, or others might visualize similar things.

The point is words produce images in our minds, and sometimes those images are linked to our emotions.  Exact sensory words connect with readers, but they won't if the writer doesn't get out of the way.  "Show, don't tell" is an adage that is more valuable than most writers understand.

A simple example is:

I saw a big tree and heard a bird singing on a branch. (Telling)

A red robin sang on the leafy branch of the massive oak tree. (Showing)

Even in the modest example, showing is more beneficial for the reader.  You get specifics, which are details that paint a picture with words.  So, if you're writing about a man driving a car, don't be vague.  What kind of car?  What color?  Rental or does he own it?  How old is the man?  Does he have a beard?  Is he bald?  Tall and skinny or short and chubby?  The possibilities are endless, but all these details give the reader insight into his personality, his tastes, etc.

However, don't be too overly descriptive, either.  Too much detail will cause a reader to skim ahead or skip entire passages because it bogs down the plot and eliminates the urgency.  Have you ever read a novel where the entire room or house is thoroughly described to the point where you flip ahead?  Yeah, me too.  Overdoing description is almost as bad as not enough details.

Take a notebook and go for a walk sometime.  Find a place to sit and describe all the sounds, smells, and sights.  Bring your surroundings to life on the page.  It might take a few attempts, but the effort is well worth it.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Shawndirea (Chronicles of Aetheaon: Book I) Release Date: June 12th

I am proud to announce my newest novel, Shawndirea, will be released on June 12, 2014.  Here's the book blurb:

" Often the smallest unexpected surprises garner the most demanding dilemmas, which proves to be the ordeal that entomologist Ben Whytten faces.  While netting butterflies to add to his vast collection, he mistakenly sweeps what he thinks is the most spectacular butterfly he has ever seen into his net.  Upon examining his catch, Ben is horrified to discover he has captured a faery and shredded her delicate wings into useless ribbons.

Devastated, Ben vows to take Shawndirea back to her realm, Aetheaon; but he discovers that doing so places their lives into immediate danger.  To get to Aetheaon, they must pass through a portal rift deep inside the haunted cavern, Devils Den. 

Once they cross the rift, Ben enters a world where mysteries, magic, betrayal, and power struggles await.  He must adapt quickly or die because Aetheaon is filled with enchanted creatures and numerous races where chaos often dominates order.  And since Shawndirea’s destined for the throne of Elvendale, opposing dark forces plot to prevent her from ever reaching her kingdom again.  The faery's magic isn't enough to fully protect them, so he must trust other adventurers to aid them during their journey."

Book contains a great map drawn by Millard Pollitt.
Book Length: 148,000 words or 536 printed pages (It's a LONG book).
Genre: Fantasy, Fae/Faeries, Sword &Sorcery, Action/Adventure, Magical Realm, Dragons, Wizards, Dwarves, Elves, etc.

Pre-orders at Barnes & Noble later this week!  $5.99